2022 Big East Tournament action continues as 7-seed St. John’s faces 10-seed DePaul in what should be a close, high-scoring affair. The winner of tonight’s (7 pm EST) matchup will move on to play 2-seed Villanova tomorrow at 7 pm EST.
The Johnnies and Blue Demons split their matchups this year, DePaul most recently getting the best of St. John’s in Chicago on February 27, winning 99-94. Javon Freeman-Liberty scored a career-high 39 points and registered a 136 offensive rating, and David Jones registered another double-double, scoring 26 points along with 4 steals. In St. John’s 89-84 win back in early January, newly-minted First Team All-Big East guard Julian Champagnie had a similarly dominant outing, scoring 34 points and snagging 16 rebounds.
How to watch DePaul vs. St. John’s in the Big East Tournament
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Watch Online: Fox Sports App
Spread: St. John’s -4.5 | DePaul +4.5
Moneyline: St. John’s -200 | DePaul +175
Unsurprisingly, St. John’s is favored in this matchup. As a New York team, they have a distinct advantage in playing at Madison Square Garden, while DePaul travels all the way from Chicago and won’t have the same kind of crowd support.
But DePaul has been a different animal since their two stars Javon Freeman-Liberty and David Jones came back into the lineup. While they dropped the final game of the season at UConn, they’ve still won three of their last four, including wins over St. John’s and Marquette.
DePaul really needs David Jones on the floor to get the best out of Freeman-Liberty. Without Jones, JFL becomes a beacon of inefficiency. In the four games Jones hasn’t played this year, Freeman-Liberty has averaged an 87.7 offensive rating, 23-81 FG (28.4%), and a 1.0 assist/turnover rate. With David Jones on the floor, Freeman-Liberty’s numbers and advanced stats see a marked improvement; he averaged a 116.8 offensive rating, 147-315 FG (46.7%), and a 1.7 assist/turnover rate.
St. John’s has been decent this year, but inconsistent. While they’ll come to play in their home city, and this is basically their last chance at getting into the Big Dance, they still enter the Big East tournament having lost three of their last four. To me, this matchup comes down to Julian Champagnie, and which Champagnie shows up. Is it the one who’s averaged 30 PPG against DePaul and single-handedly won the Johnnies the game in January? Or is it the one who’s averaged a 84.3 offensive rating over St. John’s 4-game slump, putting them firmly out of the NCAA tournament?
Prediction: DePaul wins, 80-76.